Some stadiums give away rally towels. Others hand out magnets. But after the nerve-racking, edge-of-your-seat game this past Sunday I have concluded that the Washington Redskins signature giveaway should be in the form of blood pressure medicine. Even coming away with the win didn’t fully provide the sort of closure one needs after an intense matchup that lets you know it’s ok to finally exhale. Because the question now is much bigger than that game itself: Is RGIII going to be able to finish the season?
But I’m not going to get into all that right now. That’s for my next article. For now here’s a (long overdue) recap of the positive things from the game.
The Redskins had an incredible first quarter. So incredible, in fact, that they ended the quarter with 186 yards, the most of any team in the first quarter this season. 114 of those were passing yards. They scored touchdowns on their first two possessions, quickly demonstrating the versitility of the offense as Robert Griffin III was able to connect with a number of players. Despite a dissapointing second quarter they were able to bounce back after halftime, with linebacker Rob Jackson forcing and recovering a fumble on the Ravens first drive of the third quarter.
The defense, for the most part, had another impressive game. DeAngelo Hall appears to be attempting to redeem himself; he is playing with conviction versus unbridled aggression. That very well may be the influence of veteran London Fletcher, who looked impressive himself with an interception in the third quarter.
Alfred Morris is fantastic. Plain and simple. The announcers during the game stated that he “runs angry.” The only rookie trait about him is his drive and determination. He does not take anything for granted. Whatever it is, it certainly is working for him as he amassed 122 yards on Sunday.
It’s no secret that the Redskins are a stronger rushing team than passing. But their passing game has evolved tremendously throughout the season. If you looked at the passing stats from the majority of games this season it would lead you to believe that the Redskins lack a standout receiver. Strictly looking at the numbers from Sundays game one might draw similar conclusions. But I believe there is a significant difference. While before it was attributed to injuries and lack of direction, it can now be deemed “versatility.” Fred Davis is gone, and yet there were 3 receivers with over 50 yards, and another with a touchdown. So essentially it’s about options versus lack thereof.
And last but not least, Kirk Cousins himself. Few players, let alone rookies, would have been able to come in cold and do what he did. And while it was only a few plays, he delivered above and beyond what people had expected. I mean, a quarterback draw on a two-point conversion? But he has, after all, been learning from RGIII. He was put in, what to me seems like, a terrifying situation, and for him to rise to the occasion versus buckling under the pressure speaks wonders about the strength of his character. Everyone stepped up after RGIII went down. And that’s probably the greatest thing of it all; the Redskins, a franchise not long ago known for drama, embarrassment and uncertainty, plays, looks and acts like a mature, legitimate contender. And above all, they look like a team.
*Authors note- I sincerely apologize for my absence over the last few weeks. I know as Redskins fans we are all used to inconsistency, but I promise to all of you that I am back and will report on a frequent and regular basis. Thank you to all of you who have stuck with me thus far.